Thursday, September 29, 2011

Nathan Christensen

Autism Light #53 is Nathan Christensen.

Nathan Christensen is a 17 year old from South Jordan, Utah.  Nathan Christensen has autism and didn't speak until age 7, but autism didn't stop him from rising to great heights in the Boy Scouts of America's scouting program. Nathan Christensen is an Autism Light for his outstanding achievements in the Boy Scouts of America scouting program.

Nathan Christensen recently earned the Eagle Scout Award. According to the Boy Scouts of America Fact Sheet, only 5% of boy scouts earned the Eagle Scout Award in 2010. However, Nathan didn't stop at the requirements for an Eagle Scout. In addition to being an Eagle Scout which requires earning 21 merit badges, Nathan Christensen added 111 more and earned all of the 132 merit badges available by the Boy Scouts of America.

Here is the news story published at CNN about Nathan Christensen's accomplishment of earning all Boy Scouts of America merit badges.

Nathan says he would rather be defined for this outstanding and rare accomplishment in the Boy Scouts of America than for having autism. His remarkable efforts, in taking on every challenge available to him by the Boy Scouts of America, are more than thousands of neuro-typical boys could accomplish in their days in scouts (including the one writing this post). Any boy achieving this exceptional feat in the Boy Scouts of America would distinguish themselves above their peers and should receive public recognition for it.  In fact, in 2008, Fox News shared an AP report on Shawn Goldsmith, a neuro-typical young man from New York, achieving the same feat as Nathan Christensen (Source). For more information on Nathan's accomplishments read the article on him at

Nathan Christensen is a role model and hero to all boys, especially those with autism, who may doubt their ability to finish just the 21 merit badges necessary to achieve Eagle Scout. Something tells me that the adults and young men in the Boy Scouts of America won't soon forget this accomplishment from someone with autism. We expect to continue to hear outstanding things about Nathan Christensen in the future.

The Boy Scouts of America can be a good program for some boys with autism. It is possible for boys with autism to grow through their involvement in this program. For those considering this activity for boys on the autism spectrum there are two helpful resources I have discovered.
  1. Autism and Boy Scouts is a content rich website on issues facing parents who are deciding about Boy Scouts for their sons with autism.
  2. Elizabeth M. Johnson has written a helpful article for Scouting Magazine called Boys with Autism Can Thrive in Scouting-With Help.
Thank you Nathan Christensen for showing the world that autism does not have to limit a person from merit in either the Boy Scouts or in life.

Autism Light honors diverse heroes to the world of autism. 

This Autism Light post went into syndication at Autisable

1 comment:

  1. Nate is my son and I have to tell you, he just graduated from high school with a 3.96/4.0 gpa. He is a hard worker who sets goals and makes them happen. Thanks for writing about him!